7 Qs with Lisa Miller, Esq.
Featuring Elayne Berg-Wilion
WLALA recently asked Elayne Berg-Wilion seven questions. Here are her responses:
What is your favorite technology device? Why?
My favorite technology device is my iPhone. It’s small, easy to carry, and has so many functions! I can use it as a computer and a camera. I can send and receive texts. And I can also use it as a telephone.
What is/was your dream vacation? Why was it the best ever?
I love to travel. I have many dream vacations. I have lived some of these dreams, while others remain on my bucket list. I plan to get to South Africa next year.
One of my best-ever vacations was last year. I traveled to India with my daughter, son-in-law, and his parents, who are from Kolkata. My daughter and I got to meet family and friends in Kolkata and visiting many beautiful places in other cities. We went to Mother Theresa's house, where she lived and is buried, and the house where her Order takes care of infants and small children with disabilities. We visited the Jewish Girls School and two synagogues. It was very moving.
Name the person you admire the most, and the quality that impresses you the most.
I greatly admire Paul Robeson because he was so talented. And in so many different fields! He mastered law, athletics, acting, and singing. He wasn't afraid to speak out. But unfortunately, he lived in a time when he was not fully appreciated. He was not even allowed to appear in court.
I have tremendous admiration for the women judges and lawyers from Afghanistan whom I was privileged to meet as a Trustee of the Women Lawyers of Los Angeles. I admire their perseverance. Many of them needed 20 years to complete their educations after the Taliban closed the schools. I admire their courage - they all had death threats hanging over them. I admire their love of their country, the reason they were willing to take these risky positions and risk their lives.
What is your most significant accomplishment, and what impact did it have?
My most significant accomplishments are my children, Beth and Michael. Being a parent taught me patience. Parenthood gave me tremendous insights, which I use in everything I do.
Regarding accomplishments in my professional legal career, I was the first woman lawyer in the legal department of the first company with which I worked. I was the first successful woman lawyer in the second company for which I worked. So opening doors for other woman lawyers was a big accomplishment for me.
If you could “fix” one global challenge, what would it be? How would you fix it?
If I could fix one global challenge, I would provide day care for women who want to work. I would use vacant buildings in urban areas and convert them to day care centers. Or I would build new buildings anywhere, which would provide construction jobs, and hire the mothers to work at the day care centers, so they could have jobs and a place to take their children while they work.
If you could have a career different from the one you are now pursuing, what would it be? Why is this your alternate choice?
If I could have a career different from the one I am now pursuing, I would teach law students in the field of experiential education. I have one year of experience in this field. I found that I could put all of my years of networking to work to bring wonderful lawyers and judges into the law school to inspire and educate students on the practical aspects of the practice of law. Students would learn how to get a job and conduct themselves professionally. I would use my decades of experience as in-house counsel to give students real-world lessons on how their classroom educations relates to the practice of law. This type of experiential focus would improve overall legal education.
What do you hope to accomplish after you retire? Why is this meaningful to you?
When I actually retire, I want to continue to travel and spend more time with family and friends. I can't believe we still don't have an Equal Rights Amendment. I plan to get more involved in political issues that are important to me, in light of efforts to take away many hard-earned rights.
Elayne C. Berg-Wilion is chief legal officer of a start-up franchise company. She was interim director of clinical education and adjunct professor at Pepperdine University School of Law (2012-13) and was Associate General Counsel and Assistant Secretary at DineEquity (formerly IHOP Corp.).
Ms. Berg-Wilion was President of Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles and serves on the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Committee on Diversity in the Profession, Senior Lawyers Executive Committee, and Corporate Law Department Executive Committee. She is a member of the San Fernando Valley Bar Association’s Inclusion and Diversity Committee.
Ms. Berg-Wilion graduated cum laude from both UCLA and Loyola Law School, where she was managing editor of the law review.
Lisa Miller is a member of the WLALA Board of Trustees, where she runs projects centered on the legal aspects of domestic violence and homelessness. Ms. Miller is Of Counsel with the California and Nevada-based law firm Marcin, LLP, focused on business litigation, civil rights, and wrongful death. Ms. Miller is the sole hearing examiner for the City of Oakland and numerous California agencies, cities, and bar association fee dispute programs. She is admitted to practice law in California, New York, and all federal courts.
Ms. Miller taught First Amendment Free Speech / Law of Mass Communication at the University of Southern California and the California State University at Northridge, writes and speaks on freedom of speech and related subjects, and consults on trials and appeals. She lectures internationally on legal topics.
Ms. Miller writes the 7 Qs column for the WLALA newsletter and is always seeking interesting interview subjects.
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